How Phil Younghusband keeps himself energized

How Phil Younghusband keeps himself energized
By Walter Ang
July 26, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The chicken-and-egg scenario can be applied to Filipino-British football player Phil Younghusband and the state of acceptance of football by Filipinos. Is it his good looks and charisma that's making the sport popular? Or is the current winning streak of the Philippine team, popularly known as the Azkals, in international games the impetus for his popularity?

For fans of both, it's not an issue; It's a win-win situation. There's more awareness for the sport and they get to see a pretty face on the field as well.

His winning skills, attitude and lifestyle is what made VitWater Power select him as its new endorser, allowing him to step into the role formerly held by world-boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

"I feel very honored not only to be the newest brand endorser of Vitwater but more so because the previous endorser of the brand is a multi-world champion," Younghusband says. "I feel equally proud to be a Filipino because of Manny Pacquiao's accomplishments in the world of boxing. I am, indeed, a big fan of his."

VitWater Power, nicknamed Vitpower, is an apple-flavored, zero-sugar, low-calorie, energy-boosting drink that has taurine (which aids fat digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins), inositol (which aids metabolism), B vitamins and ginseng. Just the kind of drink that suits a competitive sportsman like Younghusband.

"I am very, very competitive," he says. Younghusband strives to keep the proper perspective when he occasionally loses a game by singing "Win" by Brian McKnight or reciting Rudyard Kipling's poem "If."

"I also have my family to keep me grounded," he says. "They're always there to lift my spirits. I hate losing, but winning isn't everything."

Regular training
To keep on top of his game, Younghusband trains regularly with his team. A typical training day involves two hours in the morning and then another two hours in the afternoon.

"I also make sure to get enough rest in between training and games," he says. "I make sure to take in the right kind of food and fluids."

Younghusband points out that proper hydration is important not just for athletes like him but also for individuals who are always on the go. He encourages people who live an active lifestyle, like students, and those who work in air-conditioned environments (which results in dry air), like call-center agents, to choose the right kind of drink.

"Some people are so busy that they forget about the amount of water that their body requires. It's just that some people don't really enjoy drinking water, but with VitPower, they can have a fun and healthy way to stay hydrated," he says. "It's excellent tasting and an extremely good power booster. It helps give me the energy I need, on and off the field."

When he's not busy representing the country in games abroad, Younghusband runs the Younghusband Football Academy, co-founded with his older brother and fellow footballer, James.

"The academy started in 2010. We usually go to different provinces, different places trying to promote football. With the recent success of the Philippine team, interest has grown dramatically."

Their summer program this year attracted about 170 students, from 4-year-olds to adults, all wanting to learn football from the Younghusband siblings.

"We have people from Pangasinan coming in just to (play in) Alabang; it's amazing how dedicated some of these people are."

"I want to sustain the popularity of football for a long, long time in the Philippines, and not just for a few months."

Cris Canaria, brand manager for beverages of RFM, the company that manufactures VitPower, says that the 23-year-old athlete embodies the distinct attributes of VitPower.

"We are impressed with Phil's relentless spirit to win. He channels his energy to his passion, which is football, and to things that matter, like his family, friends, bringing pride to the country, and his zest for life," Canaria says.

"I feel blessed that I get to endorse VitPower," says Younghusband. "I am excited with the tours and activities that I will be doing with VitPower later this year."

He adds that inspiring the youth to be the best they can be is part of his personal advocacy. He believes every individual, celebrity or not, has the power to make a positive contribution to personal growth and for others.

"We all have the capacity to develop our extreme power, we just need to strive harder everyday and keep ourselves busy and useful to society."

Search for SeePhil in Facebook and Twitter and SeePhilYH in Youtube.

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Campus-based theater groups unveil 2011-2012 season lineups

Campus-based theater groups unveil season lineups for 2011-2012
By Walter Ang
July 18, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Manila's two major campus-based theater groups announce their season offerings for the school year 2011-2012.

Both groups will commemorate Philippine national hero José Rizal's sesquicentennial by staging his works and each will stage its own Filipino adaptation of a William Shakespeare play.

Dulaang UP, the University of the Philippines' official performing theater arts group, is on its 36th season. From July to August, it will stage "Rizal X," a production that aims to rediscover and reintroduce the relevance of Rizal.

"It will compile different points of view toward Rizal, his works and his life, in a collaboration of text, dance, music, film, visual arts," says director Dexter Santos.

Based on a concept by Santos, this original production will feature the works of different poets, playwrights, choreographers, filmmakers and artists.

"The show will not be written by a single playwright," he says. "Our process may be considered as devised theater. The actors and the artistic and production staff will play a pivotal role in the creation of the show."

In September, Tanghalang Ateneo, one of the longest-running theater groups of Ateneo de Manila University and now on its 33rd season, will stage "Mga Kuwento Ni Rizal Para Sa Bata." The production will be a devised piece conceptualized and directed by Ronan Capinding.

From November to December, DUP will stage "Noli Me Tangere: Isang Opera," to be directed by the group's artistic director, Alexander Cortez. A grand-scale production to be staged at the UP Theater, the opera is composed by National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon with libretto by National Artist for Visual Arts Guillermo Tolentino.

Indigenized Shakespeare 
In July, TA will stage "Ang Sintang Dalisay ni Julieta at Romeo," an awit (using dodesyllabic or 12-syllable verse) version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" (which is written in iambic pentameter, or five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables per line), written by G.D. Roke to be directed by Ricardo Abad and designed by National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal.

Abad found the text in the Project Gutenberg website, which states it was written in 1901. "Roke is such a mystery," Abad says. "Shakespeare scholar Judy Ick has searched all over the place and hasn't found a trace."

From September to October, DUP will stage the Philippine premiere of William Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus." Tuxqs Rutaquio will direct using Layeta Bucoy's Tagalog translation. "Tuxqs is a graduate of our theater program and this is the first time he will direct for DUP since he graduated," says Cortez.

Considered Shakespeare's bloodiest and most violent work, this tragedy of ancient Roman general Titus Andronicus and his revenge against Tamora, Queen of the Goths, will be adapted to be "set in the Philippines with the violent Muslim clan wars as backdrop."

Looking forward 
TA ends its season in February 2012, with "Orestaya," a Tagalog adaptation by B.J. Crisostomo of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. To be directed in tandem by Abad and Crisostomo, the production will combine related Greek myths of the cursed family of Atreus, locked into constant murders of each other.

ADMU offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Theater Arts, with concentration in disciplines such as acting, directing or production design. The program has student performances throughout the year. "There are plans to make TA the theater company of the Theater Arts degree program in the same way DUP is the theater company of UP's Theater Arts certificate and degree programs," says Abad. "The construction of a black box theater for the group's use is also underway."

Looking back 
To celebrate the centennial of National Artist for Theater Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero, DUP's season ends February to March next year with his "Forsaken House," a play that deals with a family and its controlling patriarch in post-World War II in Manila.

In 1947, Ma. Guerrero founded the UP Dramatics Club which became the precursor of DUP. The theater where he staged most of his productions, then known as Liberal Arts Lecture Hall, was renamed after him in 1976. DUP uses the Guerrero Theater to this day.

Dulaang UP is under the university's Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts, which offers certificate and degree programs in Theater Arts. The group also stages its students' thesis productions under its Dulaang Laboratoryo series throughout the year.

Whole shows or rows of seats can be bought at bulk discounts. Sponsorships always welcome. 
For Dulaang UP, call 9818500 loc. 2449, 9261349, 4337840. 
For Tanghalang Ateneo, call 4266001 loc. 5427, 0917-8560787.

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Eating Spanish Shakespeare

Eating Spanish Shakespeare
By Walter Ang
July 11, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The production uses four screens surrounding the venue.
The prospect of watching a play in a foreign language can be daunting. You never know if you’ll be bored to death or be rewarded with an experience that fires up the cells in your brain and nerves in your body.

In Barcelona, we caught a Spanish translation of William Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” staged by experimental theater group La Fura dels Baus.

Three discoveries convinced us to catch their show: “La Fura dels Baus” means “vermin from the sewers” in Catalan (the dominant language in Barcelona alongside Castilian Spanish); their staging would include a meal being cooked as the play progressed; and excerpts of the production on Youtube (the images in their trailers, exciting as they are, do not do justice to the real thing, as we would soon find out).

“Degustacion de Titus Andronicus” not only fires up the brain cells, it quickens the heart, attacks the nose and tongue, rattles the nerves, and packs a wallop to the guts in a truly multi-sensory production.

Knowing no Spanish, we prepared by reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, though the production has omitted many support characters and has distilled the plotlines-the staging focusing more on execution and its exploration of food/taste/aroma. And even if the only Spanish word we understood that night was “Vamonos,” exclaimed by one character when she urged another to move, English wasn’t needed in the highly physical staging.

Video projections of smiling babies cross-projected against four white screens enclosing the performance area greets the audience as they file into the theater. No seats; everyone stands for the duration of the show. Meanwhile, the stench of charred meat permeates the space, courtesy of a chef standing on a platform high-above everyone’s heads, deliberately burning pieces of flesh.

If audiences come to the show without knowing that Titus is Shakespeare’s bloodiest, goriest tragedy, the visuals of babies and the smell of burning meat should serve as an ominous clue. The tale of ancient Roman general Titus Andronicus, his capture of Tamora, Queen of the Goths, and their ensuing episodes of revenge against each other is rendered in a wild, grotesque, visceral manner.

Entrance of Titus Andronicus on mobile scaffolding.
The production uses mobile scaffoldings and motor-driven vehicles that traverse the entire space. The smell of gasoline adds yet another olfactory layer, while audience members scramble to get out of the way of all these moving set pieces. A vehicle would have run us over were it not for another audience member who pulled us out of the way.

A hunt in the forest is transmuted into an interactive video game where actors aim at images on the screens. People are hung upside down on cattle hooks for disembowelment, blood streams down their torsos as they writhe, finally falling limp, eyes wide open. Audiences get splattered with bodily fluids.

Prior to the show, La Fura artistic director and the show’s director, Pep Gatell briefly spoke to the Inquirer. “Theater works with visuals and sounds. We have done work using smells. And now we wanted to work the sense of taste,” he said. La Fura is known to break the fourth wall in its productions.

Audience members are invited to join the final cannibal banquet.
Effusive and expressive, Gatell said that he spent time plotting what aroma or “flavor” he wanted audiences to encounter for every scene. Food is distributed to the audience throughout the production and some are even invited to partake of the final cannibal banquet.

Contradictions are deliberate, such as cotton-candy being made during the rape and torture of a character, the sweet smell melding with visuals of on-stage blood and dismembered limbs. “The aroma affects your sympathetic nervous system and makes you salivate. But what you see makes your stomach tighten up,” he said. People have fainted at past shows.

He was amazed to find out that Filipino theater groups still perform zarswelas (“Here in Spain, it is a dying form,” he shook his head longingly.) and was excited to know that our theater groups also translate and adapt Shakespeare. (Dulaang UP will stage a Filipino translation of Titus later this year.)

The enterprise of theater is alike the world over, we both concluded, as Gatell expressed the difficulties of being an independent theater group with no institutional funding and as I shared the similar challenges faced by groups in Manila. “Money is always difficult,” he said.

Asked if his group could possibly tour Manila in the future or collaborate with a Filipino theater group, “If someone would invite us and sponsor us, of course!”

The theater scene is vibrant in Barcelona. The events-listings magazine Time Out even has a special publication for the theater line-up and tourist kiosks have maps that plot out all the major theaters of the city.

Those interested in experiencing the Spanish performing arts scene should take advantage of the ongoing El Grec Festival de Barcelona, which runs until July 31, 2011. This annual international theater, dance, music and circus festival is now on its 35th year and is named from its main venue: the open-air Greek amphitheater-style Teatre Grec.

It showcases works by Catalan artists and groups as well as international participants. This year, there are several “world classics” that might be a bit more familiar to Filipinos should they want to explore watching these productions in Spanish or Catalan: Todos Eran Mis Hijos (All My Sons), Julieta & Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Un Tranvia Llamado Deseo (A Streetcar Named Desire), and Esperant Godot (Waiting for Godot).

If the idea of reading up on synopses prior to watching or dealing with a foreign language seems too much work, there are shows in forms where language isn’t necessary: music such as jazz and opera (Magic Flute) and dance, which even includes a bboy showdown.

Filipinos can take low-cost carrier Air Asia from Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga to Kuala Lumpur and transfer to long-haul carrier Air Asia X to Paris’ Orly Airport. From there, a flight on Veuling, one of Spain’s low-cost carriers, allows one to land in Barcelona in as short as an hour.

The website of the city’s tourism office, Barcelona Turisme (, has comprehensive information and many products (maps, guidebooks, tour packages, etc.) for visitors to the coastal city. After all, there’s lot to do in Barcelona in between watching show: it has shopping, restaurants, sports (football, of course), museums, churches, and beaches.

Information on the Grec Festival of Barcelona can be found at while tourist information about Spain can be found at

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Theaterbatoring GT's Rizal-novels plays 2011

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thoughts on GT's rizal-novels plays 2011
by walter ang
july 11, 2011

Cast of Gantimpala Theater's "Kanser"
(stage version of "Noli Me Tangere")
For its 2011-2012 season, Gantimpala Theater opens with the "Rizal-novels" plays, namely, "Kanser" (Jomar Fleras' version of "Noli Me Tangere") and "El Filibusterismo" to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Rizal's birth.  This inverts its usual practice of opening its seasons with "Ibong Adarna" and "Florante at Laura."

I think it would be nice if GT could schedule a show or two of its Rizal-novels plays in the evening so that adult audiences (okay, 25 and above) can have a chance to watch:

1. A play version of the Rizal novels.  Even if there will be a slew of Rizal-related productions for the second half of the year, so far I have not heard of any scheduled play versions of Noli and Fili except for the GT productions.  In my previous "Rizal versus Shakespeare" post, so far, there have been announcements of musicals, operas, and devised works but no plays.

2. Without having to sit with hordes of chattering teenage and early-20s students.

Since GT uses a curriculum-based line-up (as the four plays are required reading for each level of high school), its audiences are predominantly student audiences.  GT has been staging the "curriculum plays" for decades to swarms of students.  In fact, one of the very first plays I ever saw (as a high school student) was their staging of Fili at the (then still open) Metropolitan Theater.  In 2008, I finally caught their version of Noli.

There's nothing wrong, of course, with students who cheer along or erupt in choruses of "yiheeeeee" when characters kiss lips-to-lips (I'd rather an audience that reacts than an audience that's snoring), nonetheless, it can't be denied that student audiences can be (though not always) distracting.

If you were required to watch a play or musical when you were still a student (or if you've had to watch a production that had a large student audience), you know what I'm talking about.

We meet again
But beyond the possible noise and distraction that audiences can generate (student or otherwise), an evening show for adults-only would allow GT the opportunity to:

1. Allow its pool of actors to give a performance or two without the harried atmosphere of delivering lines and emotion to a theater full of hyper, restless, noisy students.

2. Expose 25-and-above audiences to the Rizal-novels via the stage.  My assumption is that the last time anyone over 25 would have had exposure to the two novels is the required high school reading (and not even the complete novels, mind you, since most teachers use textbooks that employ shortened versions of each chapter) and possibly a required field trip to watch a production.

There are very limited chances (or none at all) for Filipino adults to revisit the two novels of the country's national hero--I'm sure there are a lot who haven't had the chance at a first visit at all.

The way I understand it, the novels are, arguably, the major contributing factor that elevated him to hero status to begin with.  (The novels inspired a revolution! And this is why they say literature is dangerous ... kekeke.)

The idea here is, I assume also, that the Rizal-novels (as plays, in this case) will "read" differently when seen and analyzed by an adult mind that's free from the constraints of being required to read/watch.  And also, the underlying themes and whatnot should resonate in a different way (if not more strongly).

Money, money, money
But of course, scheduling in extra shows in the evenings and the idea of it being only for adult audiences has cost implications.  Venue rental, equipment rental, salaries for staff, ticket sale recoupment, etc.

It's easier said than done.  Perhaps some independent producers or showbuyers would like to give it a go?  Rally some adults and invite/cajole/encourage them to watch? (Because forcing them to watch will kind of defeat the purpose of allowing them a new way of approaching the Rizal-novels plays.)

Whatever one's thoughts about the novels and/or Rizal, theater can provide an avenue for (re)acquaintance to these two works -- especially if you're not the reading type, kekeke.

Rizal-novels plays? Rizal food as well!
While we're on the subject of enticing people to watch the Rizal-novels plays (adults or otherwise), maybe all the theater groups staging Rizal-related plays this year could serve/sell something that I had the chance of experiencing when I attended a Rizal Day Party* last year: Rizal cupcakes! Kekeke!

(*Rizal Day Party: This is a party conceptualized by a friend of mine.  It's held every Dec.30 to commemorate/celebrate Rizal Day. The first time my friend thought of this, we brought over some of Rizal's books and attempted to do readings of passages.  We ended up eating more than reading, kekeke.  On the third year of this annual party, we had an impromptu excerpt reading from a Rizal-related play, the title of which I forget right now, and we ate Rizal cupcakes, as seen below.)